Pueblo County, Colorado
Contributed by Jean Griesan.
Weston, Eugene (arrived in Colorado in 1859)
Eugene Weston was born in Bloomfield, now Skowhegan, Maine, September 24, 1835. An ancestor was Thomas Weston* of London, England, who bought and outfitted the good ship Mayflower in 1620 at his own expense. The family organized a colony and settled in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1644. His grandfather was one of the first settlers in the wilds of Maine in 1774. The father of Eugene settled in West Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1847, but in 1850 purchased a farm near Henry, Illinois, which Eugene and his brothers tilled, attending the common school a part of each winter.
In the winter of 1857-58, Eugene taught school. In June of the latter year he went to St. Louis. Then in August to Kansas where he clerked in a store. The following spring of 1859 he joined a party for Pikes Peak, but in due course met a big stampede of more than 3000 wagons returning from the alleged gold fields, which caused his company to turn back.
On reaching the Missouri River, Weston joined a trading outfit bound to New Mexico.** In the winter of 1859-60 he taught school. In the spring of 1860 he drove an ox team to California Gulch, worked in the mines and prospected until the ensuing fall, then located in Canon City.
In 1861 he farmed a tract of land on the St. Charles in Pueblo County. The next year he engaged in the same pursuit near the town of Pueblo where he promoted the erection of the first flour mill built in southern Colorado, for which service he was granted an eighth individual interest in the Pueblo town site.
In the fall of 1862 he was elected constable and for nearly 2 years thereafter was the only executive officer in the county, which embraced all the territory between Beaver Creek, 22 miles west of Pueblo, to the east line of the State, including a part of Huerfano County.
In August 1864 he enlisted in Company G., 3rd Colorado Cavalry and with it served in the battle of Sand Creek.*** He built and filled the first ice house in Pueblo. In the spring of 1865 he was appointed deputy county clerk. Then there was no court house, no county or court seals, no books of record, save a three-folio ruled daybook. The county and court records and papers were jumbled together in a candle box. He was also appointed deputy clerk of the United States Court, 3rd Judicial District and, on taking possession, found the papers of the court in the same condition.
Mr. Weston was the first notary public in all the region south of Denver. When he entered the service of Pueblo County its warrants were worth only 15 cents on the dollar, there was no money in the treasury, no county commissioners, no assessor. The public debt amounted to $5000. No assessments had been made for 2 years. In the fall of 1865 he was elected county clerk and soon afterward drafted a bill authorizing a special assessment, which was passed by the territorial legislature with an emergency clause. In the spring of 1866 the county was assessed for a special tax. He caused the collection of a forfeited criminal bond with the proceeds of which a building for court users was purchased.
He designed the county and court seals and secured from Philadelphia a full set of record books at a cost of $600. He was appointed assessor and also census taker, finding in the latter capacity a total population of 800 in the county, which then embraced 40 by 100 square miles. There were only five marriageable girls, three of whom were of Mexican birth.
In the spring of 1871 he settled in Canon City and the ensuing fall organized Christ Church of that place. In 1876 he made a collection of the minerals of Fremont County for the Centennial Exposition, but it was not forwarded.
In 1881 he organized the Colorado Pioneers Society of Fremont County, being elected secretary thereof, which position he held continuously. In 1882 he was appointed a commissioner to collect the minerals of that county for exhibition at Denver.
On February 25, 1884, he married Miss Nellie Pearson of Manchester, New
Hampshire, and has a family of two daughters and one son. In 1891 he collected the minerals of Fremont County for the Mineral Palace of
*Stratton, E. A., 1986, Plymouth Colony, Its History & People, 1620-1691, p. 23, 32, 34, 220, 339.
**New Mexico was admitted to the Union in 1912.
***Noel and others, 1994, section 45, Native American Tribes.
Extracted from "The Real Pioneers of Colorado," by Maria Davies McGrath, published in 1934 by The Denver Museum, retyped with added notes by Jane P. Ohl, in October 2001.
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